As more businesses begin to adopt unified communications (UC) technology, it can be tempting to follow the crowd. If a particular vendor or solution seems to be working well for other organizations, shouldn’t it work for your company too?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is “Don’t be so sure.” A one-size-fits-all approach to unified communications may meet some of your needs today (if you’re lucky), but don’t you and your employees deserve to have all of your needs met? How can you be sure you’re picking a UC vendor that will help your company succeed today, tomorrow and 10 years from now?
While it’s important to carefully review the different providers in the unified communications space, making the right choice actually begins by looking within your own organization. Assuming you know what your employees need is dangerous. Companies need to ask the tough questions about what’s working, what isn’t and what’s really needed in order to come to the vendor table prepared and properly armed to make the best choice for a relationship that will stand the test of time.
If you’re not sure how to get started, we have five questions to ask to make sure you dig deep within the soul of your business and uncover all of your communications needs.
Unified Communications Analysis: What Do You Really Need?
The questions below can help your business get to the bottom of what your communications needs really are. Be sure to involve stakeholders from all parts of the business when seeking answers to these questions. Otherwise, you risk missing out on important information that can help lead you to the ideal UC vendor.
What Type Of Workforce Do You Have?
If you’re like most companies, your workforce changed a lot over the past year and a half. While only 30% of employees worked remotely before the pandemic, 73% of employees want flexible remote options to remain on the table in the post-pandemic world. Many companies are permanently adopting a hybrid model, giving employees the flexibility to switch between working from home and in the office. The type of workforce you have has a direct correlation to the communications tools you need. For example, capabilities such as video, voice and chat in one integrated solution, web and mobile applications and a single point of access for all communications tools makes it easy for employees to work from anywhere and from any device.
How does your team prefer to work?
After steadily increasing over the past ten years, employee engagement decreased from 22% in 2019 to 20% in 2020 thanks to – you guessed it – COVID-19. Not surprisingly, the daily stress felt by workers increased from 38% to 43% during the same period. Believe it or not, unified communications can help with both engagement and workplace stress, so managers and executives need to take this into account when thinking about requirements. Our suggestion? Go straight to the source and poll your employees. Do they want access to shared workspaces for easier collaboration on projects? Is Outlook and calendar integration important? Where does a mobile-first design rank? When you take the time to find out which communications tools and features your staff most desire, you increase your chances of picking a solution that can improve engagement and make the workday less stressful.
How important is security?
Every organization needs to keep security a top priority, but it’s even more critical for companies handling highly sensitive information or subject to certain regulations. Document all of your security needs, so you can be sure to select a vendor who can check off every box. MiCloud Connect and Teamwork from Mitel, for example, are built on trusted public cloud, delivering industry-leading reliability and security to deliver uptime as well as SOC2 and HIPAA compliance.
Do You Want To Leverage Existing Infrastructure?
Your current setup is unique to your business. What works for another company (even one in your own industry) isn’t going to necessarily work for you. Do you need your UC solution to make use of your existing systems? Are you already in the cloud or do you need more time? Answers to these questions can help eliminate vendors who may try to force you to rip out your existing infrastructure and migrate fully to the cloud on day one. Perhaps you need a vendor like 4Sight – one who will work with you to create a communications solution that works with your needs today while building a solid foundation for the future and lets you grow and evolve at your own pace.
What Does The Future Look Like?
You probably have a vision for the future of your business, but if you’re truly honest with yourself, you’ll admit your plans may change. It’s important to discuss your future plans with potential UC vendors, but it’s just as critical to think about how you can plan for the unpredictable. How can a vendor support your future goals and the possibility of them shifting? Perhaps you need a solution that can easily scale up or down as the market changes. Or maybe you need a vendor that’s always looking ahead for you, anticipating your future communications needs.
While your business may be eager to jump into a relationship with the first unified communications vendor you speak to, a wiser approach is to turn inward first. Asking the right questions of your own staff can help organizations discover what they really need in a UC provider – so you can be confident during the selection process. With a little bit of soul searching, you can find a match made in communications heaven.
This blog post was first published by Mitel.